25/01/2016: Saints U21s 0-2 Huddersfield U21s
Saints' defence of the U21 Premier League Cup came to an end at St Mary's, with Huddersfield comfortably seeing off Martin Hunter's side. Saints looked all over the place in the first-half, and could have easily gone into the break 3-0 or 4-0 down. There was a slight improvement in the second-half, but there's no question that the best team won.
Hunter kept with the same line-up that lost at Man United a week previous. Huddersfield carved Saints open time and again during the first-half, countering at great speed. Martin Hunter's men played too far apart, leaving the midfield outnumbered and the defence exposed. On 12 Josh Debayo made a great last ditch tackle when Huddersfield's Flo Bojaj broke through in the area. Jake Charles had a header blocked at the far post before Regan Booty went close from distance.
On 23 The Terriers took the lead. Jack Senior hammered the ball into the roof of the net after Jacob Hanson had brilliantly burst into the box. A few minutes later the visitors clipped the bar, with Duane Holmes smashing the ball on the half-volley. On 29 Charles almost rounded Paulo Gazzaniga, before putting the ball wide. Just before half-time Gazzaniga tipped the ball over the bar from a corner.
Saints showed a tad more intensity in the second-half, moving the ball quicker in the early going. Bevis Mugabi hooked the ball wide from a corner. Huddersfield adopted a slightly more pragmatic approach, but still looked threatening on the counter. They scored their second on 62. Danny Kane headed in from close range at the end of a well worked move.
Ryan Seager shot into the side netting after some good combination play with Gallagher on 65. Josh Sims' 69th minute free-kick just outside the area on the left went straight into the keeper's arms. On 71 Mugabi was presented with a brilliant chance to get Saints back in it, nodding wide from inside the six yard box.
Saints showed a bit more composure on the ball late in the game, but Huddersfield could have easily put the result well and truly to bed on 73 when Hanson made another rapid burst into the box before testing Gazzaniga. By the last 10 minutes Saints looked knackered. Huddersfield somehow managed to maintain their energy until the end. Seager was booked for diving in stoppage time, before forcing a good save from the keeper at the end of a frustrating evening.
Gazzaniga: Did fairly well despite conceding two. Made a few really good saves
Mugabi: Made one awful challenge and generally below his usual standard
Jones: Deserves some credit for always trying to play his way out of trouble, but far from faultless defensively
Stephens: A few good runs out from the back, but mostly disappointing
Debayo: Without doubt Saints' best player. Pace opened up space going forward and solid defensively
Reed: Some excellent passing late in the game, but uncharacteristically weak defensively
Gape: Saw much of the game pass him by
Gallagher: Looked reasonably sharp on the ball, but could have offered more defensive support
Hesketh: A few nice bits of skill towards the end of the game, but largely ineffective
Sims: Did ok defensively, but forward play largely ineffective
Seager: Looked bright around goal during the last 15 minutes or so, but didn't see much of the ball prior to that
Little: Added a tad more composure and energy to the midfield
Olomola: Worked as hard as he could in the limited time he was on
Huddersfield: Senior (23) Kane (62)
Referee: Timothy Wood
Saints line-up: Gazzaniga, Mugabi, Jones, Stephens, Debayo, Reed, Gape (Little 77), Gallagher (Olomola 83), Hesketh, Sims, Seager
Subs not used: Lewis, Cook, Wilkin
Huddersfield line-up: Alinson, Hanson, Senior, Booty, Boyle, Kane, Coughlan (Spencer 90), Billing, Charles (Boyle 90), Bojaj (Pyke 75), Holmes
Subs not used: Ryan, Horsfall